NEWS | April 24, 2014

Pediatric patients welcome canine friends at Josh Dog Day


Therapy dogs — even stuffed animal dogs — can do wonders for hospitalized children.

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine students introduce Josh the Dog to delighted pediatric patients UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine students introduce Josh the Dog to delighted pediatric patients

Pediatric patients in the playroom were instantly cheered this week when UC Davis veterinary medicine students visited, bringing stuffed dogs to patients and providing quick tips on how to care for them.

The visit is an annual playroom event, hosted by the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. The visit is based on the Josh and Friends Project, which helps transform anxious hospital stays for children into friendship-filled adventures to wellness.

Vet med students fundraise during the year to raise money to purchase stuffed dogs for Children's Hospital patients.

"Our students have a passion for bringing healing to the lives of individuals, not just the four-legged kind, in our community. With this in mind, the goal of Josh Day is simple. We strive to bring hope and encouragement to the children and families of our community experiencing a medical difficulty," said Diana Donckels, UC Davis veterinary club president.

Pediatric patient Hayden gets to meet Josh the dog.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and Level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for critically ill children. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. With more than 120 physicians in 33 subspecialties, UC Davis Children's Hospital has more than 74,000 clinic and hospital visits and 13,000 emergency department visits each year. For more information, visit